It has officially been one week since I’ve touched down in incredible India. My study abroad group is 25 women strong - here for a month to learn about the women leadership and social entrepreneurship in a country with many restrictions in those realms.
I’ve been apprehensive to critique culture - especially one I do not identify with. But the oppressive nature of certain tradition is striking.
And yet in the midst of all of these small, but bold and rooted forms of sexism, there is hope, resilience, and enormous power in the eyes of each woman I meet. Wearing bright, colorful kurtas and saris trimmed with gold, these women have created movements and are leading companies that are breaking this oppressive mold.
We have met and listened to the stories of powerful souls shaking the foundation of this country. They come from the city and the country, corporations, slums, and villages. They are India. They are global.
I am inspired by the perseverance of these women and hope to bring the same ideals and work ethic into how I live my life.
In addition to this, I have learned how to eat with my right hand and what it’s like to constantly sweat for 17 hours of a day. I have addressed my own problematic, preconceived notions of poverty, battled colonial mindsets and racism within the group, and have learned to speak up. I have learned how much it hurts to be separated from my boyfriend, but also how the support we give each other in the pursuit of our individual goals brings us closer. In this, I have relearned love. I have learned that I need to learn more about government both in India and at home. And I have learned how to be courageous, how to own my rightful place in this world, how to use my voice - all in one week.
I have two and a half weeks left. Can’t wait for what’s to come.